Happy Easter Dollidays 

15 Apr

I hope you are having a great Easter Sunday! I took some nice doll pics while I was away on holiday last week so I thought I would share some of these with you. First up: some snaps from the beach at Heysham (near Morcambe) with Esme and kids: 


Ghost of Christmas Presents 2016 – Collectors Edition Skelita 

28 Mar

I had a moment of clarity last night. I usually hate it when that happens but on this occasion it was a good thing. I have been flagging with my resolution to debox every day until my backlog has gone; although I have clearly failed to meet my target, I stick with it because at least it means that I’m prompted to open two or three dolls a week, rather than none at all. Anyhoo, yesterday I was doing the washing up or changing a nappy or something fascinating of that nature, and I suddenly thought, “hold the phone! Why the hell is that beautiful Skelita still unused and in the box? Have I gone crazy??” And so I decided to put this ridiculous situation to rights. 

Now, let me just say that I do absolutely love this doll. I mention this because I’m going to talk about a lot of things I would have liked to see done differently, but none of them have really made me regret asking for her for Christmas. Actually, as we are on the subject now, lets start off with “things that could have been better”: 

* Box hair! Is that meant to be wavy, or crimped, or just ratted-up? On budget dolls – OK. On special edition dolls – no. 

* To paraphrase Beetlejuice: if Mattel don’t stop producing headgear that is tagged into place and can’t be properly reattached, I will go insane and I WILL TAKE YOU WITH ME. Stop. Please stop, Mattel. Right now. 

* Two-colour accessories. The headpiece, shoes and hairclips are hot pink with big blobs of yellow paint. They could have looked so nice with just a little more care and attention. Maybe I will do this myself, if I ever get around to it that is … 

* Limb issues. My Skelita’s joints are really stiff and because her limbs are thin, they actually bend in a scary, we-might-snap-at-any-minute kind of way. I have at least three other Skelitas and they don’t have this issue, so why should the fancy Skelita suffer from it?? 

* I’m not really sure if this is a criticism or just an observation – the painted shape of Skelita’s mouth does not follow the moulded line of her face sculpt’s mouth, and if you look at it the right (or wrong) way, this becomes more and more apparent. Looks a bit weird. 

So, why do I like her, then? The main thing I love about this doll is that faceup. Its just lovely – the subtle flowers on her cheeks, the fuller lips. Beautiful. Her dress is also loads of fun, with the large flower print on her skirt and the lace edging. And even though I’m not the biggest fan of those oversize hairclips, she really does suit bunches.

Mother’s Day – DC Superhero Girls 

27 Mar

Yesterday for Mother’s Day I received two dolls – DC Superhero Girls Wonderwoman from my daughter, and Supergirl from my son (both via Mr Bat, of course 😀). I already have another DC Girl who I got for Christmas and STILL haven’t posted about, so I’ll have to come back to her another time. 

Before I start: I am vaguely aware that these dolls are based on a cartoon but after my frankly disappointing experience with the Monster High movies, I’ve not bothered looking them up. If anybody has seen the Superhero Girls in action and has feedback they would like to share, please do leave a comment. 

These dolls are probably not for everyone; with their simple sculpts and primary colours, they are very playline. However, they have struck a chord with some collectors, and I am one of them. I really like them. There’s at least one more I plan to get, and I will be keeping an eye out for future releases with great interest (fingers crossed for Catwoman!!)

So, what’s to like? The main thing for me with these dolls is how substantial they are. They are slightly taller than a Barbie or a Monster High doll, with thicker, more muscly limbs. They are also fully poseable (there are other, less poseable, always-dressed versions too though). They even have a torso joint. Here’s a body comparison (if you’re naked doll averse, best look away now): 

(Apologies for the great big head shadow, by the way, hopefully you can still see the bodies well enough). As you can see, Supergirl has arms that are rather like a Made To Move Barbie’s, but more muscular. She has pronounced forearm muscles, although her upper arms are a little weedier than you might have expected (maybe to ensure you can get her clothes on.smoothly). Her hands detach at the wrist like a MH doll. Her legs are even longer than a MH doll’s but much thicker, and her torso is has the MH/ EAH “pear”shape, widening to about the same width as Barbie at the hip. I am so pleased that they have even more joints than Monster High dolls – its fitting that active characters are flexible and poseable. Both also have hands designed to actually hold things (like Womderwoman’s lasso) which is another nice touch.

I was interested in the DC doll feet. As you’ll see later, these dolls come with some pretty cute shoes of their own but its always handy to know who they can share with. Their feet resemble Monster High feet, but standard MH shoes are much too small. I did have some success with Nefara’s open-toed sandals. However the slope of the DC Girl foot is shallower than that of a Monster, so I’m betting that closed shoes wouldn’t work at all. Even with the sandals, the heel is at the wrong angle so the doll would no longer stand unsupported while wearing them, which she does quite nicely in her own shoes. 

Clothes-wise, should you wish to re-dress your doll, a mix and match approach might work best. Barbie skirts (but not pants, unless they are very stretchy) will fit – some tops might work well, but a lot will be too wide. Monster High clothes are probably not going to work, though, even “big sister” size. Nefara’s dress didn’t even pull up over Supergirl’s preciously chunky thighs: 

I also actually really like their faces. Yes, they are cartoony but as they are based on cartoon characters I’m fine with this. I like Wonderwoman’s slightly upturned eyes better as I think that Supergirl looks slightly manic from some angles with her full-on stare, but honestly, they’re both cute. 

Outfit-wise, both are pretty simply dressed in a version of their standard costumes. I was interested to note that Supergirl’s dress is a little longer than I remember it being in my youth, and Wonderwoman now wears leggings over her superhero swimsuit. I am guessing that the designers were briefed against making the costumes too sexy, given how newsworthy the idea of dolls as role models has been over the last decade or so – no point attracting the wrong kind of attention, is there? I am a bit disappointed that Wonderwoman’s headband is only tagged to her head and couldn’t be reattached once removed. Similarly, once the bands are removed, Supergirl’s headband just rests on her hair. I’m also a little puzzled by the following – Supergirl’s costume does not include underpants, either built-in or separate, but Wonderwoman does have her swimsuit on under her leggings. Why??? Supergirl does have the standard molded-on flesh coloured knickers, but I just feel like she really needs the fabric ones more than Wonderwoman does. Flying girl + skirt + no underpants/ flesh-coloured underpants = potentially huge embarrassment.

What I do like about the costumes is the way the accessories have been integrated. Supergirl’s cape, for instance, which is plastic (allowing it to keep its nice, rippling-in-the-wind look) attaches to her necklace which is in turn sewn into the collar of her dress: 

Ok, why the designers have shown such an interest in making sure the cape is reattachable and that the pieces to make it so are not lost, but not in making sure that headgear is reattachable, I have no idea. But its pretty ingenious. Similarly, Wonderwoman is holding her lasso in the box: 

But if you look to the right-hand side of her belt there’s actually a place to attach it when she’s not using it! *round of applause for whoever thought of this*. 

Next – shoes. I do love doll shoes in general, but the DC Superhero Girls have particularly cute ones. First, Supergirl’s high baseball boots:

So cute! And at first I took it for granted that those socks would just be “tubes” around her lower leg for show, but no: 

Real socks awww!! Next, Wonderwoman: 

I love the shape of them and the little Wonderwoman “wing” at the top. Note as well – no more running in heels for this Superhero 😀 I’m sure that’s a big relief for her after all these years …

Well, that’s it, apart from my closing photos. Do you have any DC Superhero dolls yet and if not, are you tempted? Or are there other Superhero dolls that you prefer? Let me know. And all you Superheroes, whether you were being a Mum or not yesterday, I hope you had a good one x 

Glam Night Theresa – a Little Repaint 

22 Mar

I dont repaint much now (dolls all over the place are thanking me for that) – but I did recently get some Mr Super Clear, the notoriously hard-to-source king of sealants. So when I deboxed my Glam Night Theresa today and decided she was not a keeper in her current form, I thought I might as well give it another go. 

It was fun to do some painting again and I don’t think she cane out too badly, considering that I was also coochie-cooing at my teething, overtired daughter while painting (hooray for multitasking). 

Lea 50 – That Foxy Rae 

11 Mar

So, I thought long and hard about what doll I could post about for my 50th Lea post – I wanted it to be special (ALL Leas are special, but you know, extra specially special). So I decided on my first custom Lea, rerooted and repainted by the wonderful That Foxy Bisssh, otherwise known as Constantinos Kalaitzis (find him on Instagram: @thatfoxybisssh). I’ve followed his work and admired his repaints for a long time, so I was so pleased when he set up an Etsy shop (here) and I knew it would just be a matter of time before I made a purchase. 

Actually, it was Mr Bat who made the purchase. Rae was one of my Christmas presents this year (he might have been gently nudged in the right direction though). Today, I rebodied her onto a Made To Move Lea and I think she looks just right. Here she is: 

I’ve done a few (mostly dodgy) repaints myself, but I never bought anybody else’s repainted dolls before. For starters, they are usually beyond my budget. For seconds, I love to look at detailed, photo-realistic repaints but I’m not usually interested in buying them, because it’s hard to mix them in with Mattel-painted dolls and have them look right. I kind of like my Barbies to look like Barbies, you know? For me, Con’s customs get the balance just right – his repaints are stylised and can sit on the shelf next to Mattel dolls without looking odd, but they are beautiful and original with a distinctive style of their own. 

I love her hair, too, which kind of feels like embroidery thread. I particularly like how easy it is to style her in all kinds of crazy fun ways: 

I’m so glad that we snapped her up when we did, she photographs like a dream and I’m impressed with the quality of this repaint. So impressed, in fact, that I’ve just ordered another Foxy Lady. I highly recommend having a look around Con’s shop, his prices are reasonable and he has some great dolls in stock. 

Barbie turns 58

9 Mar

Today is Barbie’s 58th birthday! So the doll I picked to debox today is my 2015 reproduction of Barbie #1 from 1959. 

I was so excited when this doll was released! I already had a 1993 reproduction (made for Barbie’s 35th birthday) but let’s face it, although she’s lovely in her own right she’s not very accurate. I’m going to make some comparisons in this post, but please note – number ones are very rare in the U.K. and importation is beyond my means, so I’ve never got my hands on one (yet) and therefore don’t have a lot to say about how they compare to the original, other than what I can glean from photos. 

Here is the lady in question, on her own in the first pic and then with ’93. There are some obvious differences: 

* ’15 has the adorable curly fringe that was sported by the original #1. This was not featured on the ’93, although I don’t understand why they would omit such a distinctive element of her look. I really wanted a curly-fringed Barbie so I’m so glad they did this! 15’s hair colour is a more authentic canary yellow too, instead of the dark blonde of ’93. I did look at the “My Favourite Barbie” set from 2009, which included a curly-fringed doll, but it was very expensive on the reseller market so I never got around to it. Considering how reasonably priced ’15 was, I’m really glad I didn’t splash out on that set now. 

* 15’s head is smaller than 93’s and sits higher on the neck. This gives 15 a more suitably haughty posture, as she is literally looking down her nose at you. I like it. ’93 always looks like she’s looking slightly downwards and as neither of these dolls have up-and-down head movement, only side-to-side, there’s nothing to be done about it. 

* In terms of face paint, 15 has cyan blue eyeliner instead of 93’s dark blue, which really makes her eyes pop. I don’t think either of these eye makeup looks are authentic as I believe that ’59 had softer blue eyeshadow (please do correct me if I’m wrong, though). ’15 also has blue eyes instead of ’93’s white eyes, and fuller, redder lips. I like both faces, but ’15 is definitely the more glamorous of the two.

* The famous black-and-white swimsuit and the shoes are the same on both models. The material of both suits even feels identical. This photo shoot made me realise that ’93’s outfit is looking a bit grubby though! I presume I got her like this, as she’s lived in her box for as long as I’ve owned her. One welcome difference between the two – ’15’s was held in place at the bust with double-sided sticky tape, as was ’93’s, but in the inside of ’15’s swimsuit has a rubber strip sewn into it, to ensure that it will stay in place without slipping down when she has been undressed and redressed. 

* The sunglasses are quite interesting: 

On the left, you can see ’93’s sunglasses. They are fixed into position with the arms straight out, ready to be worn. The lenses are painted blue and therefore opaque. On the other side are ’15’s sunglasses, which actually feature little hinges so that the arms can be folded, and the lenses are tinted rather than painted, so Barbie can “look” through them. 

Well, that’s it. Isn’t it amazing that she’s still around after 58 years? And that there’s still a market for her original incarnation? Here’s some more photos, including (just because I felt like it) both dolls re-dressed in recent playline clothes. 

Monster High – Lorna McNessie

7 Mar

OK, so I haven’t been deboxing EVERY day as I promised myself I would this year. However, Lorna, Daughter of the Loch Ness Monster, is the last doll I deboxed and I’ve spent my free time over the last few days doing this: 

1). Curling her hair. She came out of the box with a dreadful bird’s nest. SO bad. I immediately made it much worse by pulling out her half ponytail because it annoyed me.

Unfortunately, I put my curlers somewhere really safe a while ago, so that’s the end of them. However, I felt strongly that she should have curly hair so I made some curlers out of tin foil (I’ve never seen anybody else do this but I bet they have, it’s similar to the way my Mother’s generation used rags to make ringlets I think). Basically, you cut a long thin strip of tinfoil (say, 7cm by 15cm or something like that). Half of it gets crunkled up to make the curling “stick” around which you wind the hair to form the ringlet, and then you use the other half to crunkle around the outside of the curl to keep it in place while you boil wash. It worked, anyway. 

2). Made her a dress. Her box outfit, which you can see in the top picture, is nice enough (apart from her hat, which is tiny and useless once you’ve taken out the plastic tags that hold it to her head). I just felt like it. 

I actually had the pieces already cut in my sewing bag for this one, so all I had to do was assemble it and add the trimmings. It came out OK, I think – I’m kicking myself for not trimming the collar, I might have to go back and do that. But I love this mustardy colour on her. I think she’d also look good in brown or dark blue.

She is a lovely little thing, and much improved by her hair do-over I think. I particularly like her tail, which is not detachable, unlike most other monsters. This is good – tails that fall off are a pet hate of mine. Her matching leg fins are lovely too and I understand they need to be detachable so that she can be dressed and undressed, but like Lagoona’s leg fins, which are the bane of my life, they are pretty loose and I know they’ll go missing one day. Sigh.